New Collier schools superintendent focused on communication; proposes town hall meetings

Kamela Patton, new superintendent Collier County Public Schools on NewsMakers 5-8-11

Kamela Patton, new superintendent Collier County Public Schools on NewsMakers 5-8-11

— Transparency and communication.

For Collier County Superintendent Kamela Patton, those two objectives are key to engaging community stakeholders and successfully meeting her first year goals.

At Tuesday’s School Board workshop, Patton broke down her eight goals for her first year as superintendent, all of which involved elevated communication with the community, district, parents, teachers and students.

“Communication has been our big focus so far and will continue to be so,” Patton said in a meeting earlier on Tuesday.

As part of her communications goal, throughout the year she will hold six town hall meetings, three end-of-year superintendent’s roundtable discussions with high school seniors, quarterly CEO briefings, five editorial board meetings, and a district-wide principal for the day program.

Board chair Julie Sprague said that in the past, the board and superintendent lacked this communication.

“Just the public comments, the resistance to some of the things we have done, it was so evident that we had lacked in this area,” she said.

Board member Kathleen Curatolo said that she would rather not focus on the past but that she agrees with Patton’s emphasis on communication.

“All of our community groups felt that communication was something we should focus on,” she said.

The Board worked with Patton to develop the evaluation goals before her contract was signed.

The eight goals are:

■ Communications — To provide clear, timely information and tools that keep the community informed, and engage them in the district’s mission.

■ Community partnerships — To nurture and engage an active community of families, organizations and volunteers who will work with the district to help all students succeed.

■ Family/parent involvement — To collaborate with families as full partners in the learning and development of their children.

■ Governance — To develop an effective governance model that will help build a collaborative relationship that inspires trust between the School Board and superintendent and empowers all parties to work toward shared goals.

■ Human capital — To ensure that each employee is dedicated, collaborative and builds and participates in an inclusive learning community that supports student development and achievement.

■ Operations — To provide the environment, resources and tools to best support learning.

■ Quality Learning Experiences — To provide a safe, caring, rigorous learning environment, for a diverse study body, that offers multiple opportunities for success and supports student achievement and development.

■ Student, adult, and system performance — To enhance the current accountability system so that it supports and enables all stakeholders to use evidence/data for decision making.

Sprague said the board developed the superintendent’s goals to align with the strategic plan goals, a long-range plan to guide the district for the next three years.

Also as part of the communications goal, Patton or a cabinet member will conduct at least one yearly visit to each school in the district to provide support for the school’s needs.

Through this active communication, Patton hopes to build strategic partnerships, provide support to individual schools and enhance two-way communication between the district, schools, parents and the community.

“The way she’s going to operate it, [the meetings] will be more inviting. She’s trying to engage the students,” Sprague said. “After all, they’re the ones that are actually affected by these decisions.”

In other School Board news:

The board unanimously approved the tentative $924 million 2011-2012 budget. The final budget is scheduled to be approved Sept. 6.

The board discussed the baseline data for the district strategic plan and revisions to the plan. The discussion on the strategic plan will continue at the next School Board workshop on Sept. 6.

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